Hells Angels by Hunter Thompson

People Culture

“The hard core, the outlaw elite, were the Hell’s Angels… wearing the winged death’s-head on the back of their sleeveless jackets and packing their ‘mamas’ behind them on big ‘chopped hogs.’ They rode with a fine unwashed arrogance, secure in their reputation as the rottenest motorcycle gang in the whole history of Christendom.”

Anyone even vaguely interested in the written word and the world outside our windows cannot ignore the work of Hunter S Thompson. And if there’s even a smidgin of petrol in your veins, then his work is not to be missed.

Making a scandalous name for himself for his lysergic dispatches for Rolling Stone in the mid sixties that culminated in the fabled ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ – a work of insane anti-narrative based loosely on a magazine assignment to cover a dune buggy race in the Nevada desert – Thompson’s real journalistic opus – on the Angels – was published in 1966.

Hells Angels was the result of an extended sojourn into the notorious biker gang’s countercultural way of being – and though never taking the vows and ascribing his name in Angel blood – the narcotic-obsessed arch observer of humanity got as close as possible to the subject matter without becoming the subject itself.

But ultimately the creed of Gonzo journalism Hunter S Thompson initiated and espoused was built on that blurring of the edges of observer and observed.

‘Hell’s Angels’ is required reading for anyone interested in the history of the biker cult. Check out, though, the video below of the author being dragged across the coals by a less-than-impressed Angel.